Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak has claimed lives of five children in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar. Fifteen others are undergoing treatment in hospitals there, said Muzaffarpur Civil Surgeon Dr Gyan Bhushan. “Two children succumbed to the disease today. The first death this year was recorded on May 28, and the toll went up to five ever since. Altogether 15 children are undergoing treatment at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU),” he said.

Bhushan said of the 15 children with AES symptoms, 14 are admitted at Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) and Kejriwal Hospital in Muzaffarpur city. “AES outbreak has been reported in East Champaran, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Muzaffarpur districts and the ailing children have been brought to Muzaffarpur, as specialised treatment is available here,” he added.

The civil surgeon also said that efforts are being made to identify patients at Primary Health Centre (PHC) level in rural areas and ensure that they receive medical attention immediately so that the fatality could come down. Meanwhile, Bihar Health Minister Ramdhani Singh asserted that the state government has taken several measures, and is ready to tackle the disease this year.

“We have held workshops and training on AES for doctors. Since Muzaffarpur is the centre of the disease, we have deployed doctors and medical personnel in enough numbers there. Medicines have been made available in required quantity. The disease is not expected to spread much this year,” Singh told PTI.

The Health Minister also added that the state government has provided enough ambulances in the feeder areas or the areas from which patients come, so that they are taken to hospitals without any delay. Doctors are of the view that immediate medical attention improves the chances of survival of children suffering from AES.

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